Faith No More always make it okay to be weird. The band's sound–thrash metal spliced with funk, hip-hop, punk and loose shards of many other genres–is unparalelled. And whether or not their '90s radio hit “Epic” is what first grabbed you, the band had so much more to offer once you dug past the singles. After an 18-year hiatus from recording, eccentric front man Mike Patton, drummer Mike Bordin, bassist Billy Gould, guitarist Jon Hudson and keyboardist Roddy Bottum are at it again, releasing a new record, Sol Invictus, on their own label, Reclamation Records. We spoke to Bordin about the band's new chapter before their show at the Observatory.
OC Weekly (Nate Jackson): After meeting up with the band in LA a couple of years ago, you decided to work out a plan for a new album and recorded it in Oakland. How did that come about?
Mike Bordin: That's where our rehearsal studio is. It's like the Bat Cave–nobody knows about it when you're there, and nobody gives a shit anyway. We can go there whenever we want. It was just a comfortable place to play music. The song “Matador,” the first one we released out of this new batch of songs–when we played it, it felt good. And we could take all the time we wanted to make the record, and we weren't getting leaned on from any direction except from internally, just saying, “Make some kickass music. Make some music you like.”
What was Mike Patton doing while the rest of the band was getting together and writing music?
He heard a lot of the stuff we were messing with, and he felt good about it. So that encouraged us to carry on with it and finish it up right. He listened to a lot of it, and that determined the songs that ended up on the album.
Describe the state of the band in '97, when you broke up. What did it take to get you guys back together?
The thing that stopped us was a whole lot of shared baggage, going from nothing to having hit records and a lot of expectations. At that point, maybe there wasn't a lot more for us to say. The last album, Album of the Year, we made because we wanted to make it, and I will always stand by it. But even at that time, everyone was doing a lot of different stuff. Mike was in Mr. Bungle, Roddy was doing Imperial Teen, and I was playing shows with Ozzy [Osbourne]. To get to where we are now, you let go of that baggage; you get new baggage that has nothing to do with the band, and you don't trip on the old baggage so much.
What were your first impressions of the two singles “Motherfucker” and “Super Hero”?
“Motherfucker” leaped out at us because Roddy brought it to us, and it was fairly complete, except for the drums. I like what Mike sings in the chorus; it makes me laugh. Whenever he says, “motherfucker,” it makes me smile because it sounds as if he's smiling when he's saying it. On “Super Hero,” there are a lot more layers. It has a lot of energy; it's driving and forceful. To me, that's what Faith No More should sound like.
What's on your mind as you gear up for your first U.S. tour in such a long time?
It's been a long time coming. . . . We're all looking forward to setting out and playing this new music because we really like it. All the shows sold out really quick–not at the biggest of places, but that's all right. None of us has any delusions of grandeur. We're just trying to gauge what's out there, and there's a good enthusiasm. So, fuck yeah, we're ready.
Faith No More perform at the Observatory, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 957-0600; www.observatoryoc.com. Sat., 8 p.m. $49.50. All ages.